BAKER, Oregon, January 26, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Organizations with a “spin-off group” advocating abortion, contraception, or population control ought to be deemed ineligible for funding from Catholic organizations like the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, said Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon this week.
“At some point, we must decide that their complicity with evil is too great, and we will not support them,” he said. “Some people’s consciences may find some minor complicity acceptable, but for me, I believe that there are better places where our money can go.”
The bishop made the comments in an interview with Catholic World Report, after the announcement this week that he’s been appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Santa Rosa, California. He discussed a variety of controversial issues that came up while he served in Oregon.
Asked why he would deny Communion to a pro-abortion Catholic politician, the bishop said, “It has to do with communion with the Lord.”
“You cannot claim a unity with the Church—a communion with the Church, a communion with Christ—when your beliefs, behaviors, and actions, particularly in terms of your pro-abortion stand, speak in absolute contradiction to that communion,” he said.
Speaking about the beleaguered Catholic Campaign for Human Development, he said he is concerned about how the Church in the United States interacts with elements in society that do not share Catholic values. “It is one thing to interact with those who do not share our values, but it is quite another to financially support agencies, individuals, or agendas which are absolutely, diametrically opposed to our principles and values,” he explained.
The bishop also spoke about his decision to require extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and lay catechists to make an Affirmation of Personal Faith.
After the diocese adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children, which aims to protect children from physical and emotional abuse, the bishop said, “it dawned on me that if we don’t do something likewise to protect children from spiritual harm, then we’re not really minding the flock as we should.”
“I wanted anyone who taught the faith or who is held up as a public witness for the faith ... to attest to the fact that they affirm and believe the basic teachings of the Church as found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church,” he continued.
“It’s a Creed, yet it adds what I consider to be those important moral issues some Catholics seem to have the impression they can openly and publicly dissent from without any kind of consequence,” he added.
He said his controversial decision to renounce the Catholic status of St. Charles Medical Center-Bend came down to the fact that the hospital refused to obey the Catholic religious and ethical directives, and, in particular, refused to cease performing sterilizations. “I thought, here is another issue regarding adherence to Catholic teaching which led me to adopt the Affirmation of Personal Faith,” he said.
“How can I continue official sponsorship of a hospital which is acting on a belief system that is contrary to the Catholic faith? I cannot.”